Firstly I would like to apologise profusely for my owner having only just given me my first proper holiday to catch up with all my blog writing – and there’s a lot of it I tell you! But, rather than miss out on any of our exciting adventures, we head back to the start of August for chemotherapy round two.
We, that’s myself, Hannah and Mum, arrived at hospital bright and early; 8 in the morning to be exact. Hannah was complaining of boredom already and it was only day 1. Clearly she was feeling much better and had got the riding bug again. Hannah spent the morning having hydration to protect her kidneys then at 1am they pumped in yet more drugs until 5pm - these are the two main chemotherapy ‘poisons’ - and this would be the same pattern for the next 5 days. Yes, it’s that boring. Ooh I almost forgot! Add radiotherapy onto the end of each day too. That evening Hannah had the most awful night’s sleep due to the hydration – it makes her pee every half an hour! She’s up and down like a yo-yo quite literally so poor Mum is too. I think Hannah’s Mum is amazing and I know Hannah thinks this too. Every day and every night she is by Hannah’s side every step of the way and as Hannah has told me before, without her she just couldn’t function or keep fighting this cancer. Lots of people don’t realise how few things Hannah can do, as much as she has progressed recently, something like putting on her socks and shoes by herself for example, quite literally just isn’t an option! Therefore having Mum stay in hospital with her 24/7 is so vital and she is so grateful of it. The hydration is their least favourite thing about chemotherapy as it makes them both unbelievably tired before they even get home being up all night and then when they could be doing things they love they end up having to sleep for a couple of days just to catch up. Not fair.
So day 2 was very similar to day 1 other than 2 more films were watched and I managed to write a bit of blog. Grandma visited at lunchtime and Dad popped in that evening. All in all it was a bit dull to say the least and that’s the way the rest of the week seemed to go. I notice as the week progresses how Hannah becomes quieter and spends too much time thinking about things. Quite often she seems depressed, perhaps because she notices just how normal everyone else’s lives are around her or how little this cancer has enabled her to do such as simple things like walking without crutches or bending over, things people take for granted everyday. As well as this it’s very hard for two people to live in one room together for 6 days like Hannah and her Mum have to - it makes me so happy to know just how close Hannah and her Mum are but even for them by day 6 they are struggling for things to say and do. The whole experience is not only physically draining but mentally too.
The morning of day 3 Hannah really didn’t feel too great. She was hot one minute cold the next so we ended up sleeping until 11. This is pretty normal when on chemotherapy as you have so many toxins pumped into you and the lack of sleep is quite unbearable. A morning napping soon made her feel brighter though so Grandma came up again at lunch time. She’s like our meals on wheels and does an amazing job but its day 3 now so Hannah is starting to lose her appetite yet still managed a bit to eat. That afternoon we all chilled in front of the TV before radiotherapy, and then had an early night.
Day 4 (we are nearly there!). Hannah was far better this morning so she had a visit from school friends bright and early at 9.30am. It was a real bitter-sweet moment seeing Beccy, Tegan and Frankie again because as much as it made Hannah’s day to see new faces, hear their stories and have a laugh, it also reminded her what she was missing out on with school life (something she is desperate to return to if the exam board allow her) and quite honestly just normal life in general. However when she shed a little tear when they had gone I grabbed her by the hand and I told her firmly “you’re going to kick this cancer’s butt Han and you’re going to do all the things you dream about” and that soon stopped the tears. Auntie Sandra was lunch lady on Wednesday - she did a pretty good job - and also brought some fun crafts for us to do. Afterwards Dad visited again and came to radiotherapy with us – what a family outing hey! Hannah finds it particularly hard if her Dad doesn’t come to visit but sometimes he just can’t make it as he is seriously busy on the farm at this time of year but I know he would if he could as he desperately misses her and Mum when they’re away. So, that’s when I have to grow a pair and pull my boots up pretty damn high as I have to become somewhat the ‘father figure’. Tough stuff when you’re only soft, squishy and 6 inches tall… I try my best anyway and think I do an okay job.
So finally we’ve made it to day 5 of chemotherapy and that means tomorrow is home time – yes! The doctors came to see Hannah and confirmed that she could go home tomorrow after radiotherapy at 10.30. Grandma visited for the last time with lunch at 12 which was very nice. I really don’t think we’d cope without her lunchtime visits. No not just for the food… HONEST! But she really is like our number one supporter who gets us all through a tough week. We still had a sleepless final night that night as hydration has to continue on after the chemotherapy for 16 hours to continue to protect her kidneys but it didn’t matter so much as at least the next day would be home time, or so we thought…
Hannah woke up feeling like she had been run over by a bus. Turned out she needed two blood transfusions, so that would be over 4 hours and this was why she felt pretty rough. It was a bit annoying as it clashed with radiotherapy and this had to be made later but this really wasn’t the end of the world. Before we even started the transfusions however Hannah was told that her heart rate was abnormally high so we had to wait for a doctor to confirm whether or not she could have the blood once they had seen the ECG that the nurse had done. This turned out to be fine but when the transfusion was half way through she spiked a temperature of 38 degrees. This produced another dilemma… was it the blood causing the temperature or did Hannah have an infection?
Find out next time!
Lots of love from Willberry xxx